Poetry: “18 Children” (from November 2008) Based on a real family I heard about

Eighteen Children living in a shack

Their father is a drunk, their mother’s on her back

Noone saw a dentist, so they all had plaque

Once teeth rot they never do come back

Their waste [was] thrown out a window,

It landed in a stack.

Eighteen Children in the woods of Maine

Their mother’s on her back, their father wields a cane

There’s little more to eat than leftover grain

In the cold of winter they feel a lot of pain

The roof it always leaks, whenever it does rain

Their overalls have an awful lot of stains

They may have even starved if rodents were not slain

Eighteen Children living in the cold

Their mother’s on her back, their father is a scold

Huddling together for warmth they had to hold

Eighteen Children sleeping on the floor

Their mother’s on her back, their father often swore

Huddled altogether near a drafty door

Covered with a tattered coat ‘cuz they were so poor

Their father was oblivious and he liked to snore

In the early morning the cold it made them sore

Eighteen Children wading through the snow

Their mother’s on her back, their father is their foe

How did they survive when they lacked a lot of dough

They often did go hungry with little food to grow

Eighteen Children lacking enough food

Their parents could use birth control,

But they had a giant brood,

Eighteen Children in the frigid weather

They really could have froze to death,

But they were tough as leather.

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